October 29, 2012

Why We Vote
With less than two weeks left before Election Day, AIADA Chairman Ray Mungenast says he has begun ending all of his meetings with the same refrain: “. . . and don’t forget to vote!” The message he’s spreading is an important one. He writes in this week’s blog post that voting isn’t just a right; it’s our civic duty. And it’s a duty that we all must take seriously and execute with foresight and careful consideration. Many dealers occupy a high-profile role in their communities. While they may use the name recognition to sell cars and trucks, Mungenast says it also allows them to act as role models. That is why it is so important that dealers take the time to vote and encourage their employees and customers to vote. As Mungenast has written before, if you don’t vote, and you don’t like the outcome of the election, you have no one to blame but yourself. Voting is our duty, and it’s the most fundamental action you can take to protect your business, your employees, your family, and your community. So please, do your part, and wear your “I Voted” sticker on November 6th with pride. Read the rest of Mungenast’s blog on why voting is especially important for dealers here.

Dealers Get in Your Facebook
Richard Bustillo, general manager of Rick Case Honda in Davie, Fla., believes Facebook has finally cracked the code to help dealerships sell vehicles and service. According to Automotive News, Rick Case Honda and other dealerships are starting to take advantage of Facebook's huge potential to reach customers on the users' digital home turf by putting ads directly into their customers' news feeds. Technical improvements introduced in September allow dealerships to take their customer lists – with just names and e-mail addresses – and find those people on Facebook. The "custom audience" feature allows dealerships to push ads directly to Facebook users' news feeds, the must-see center column of the home page that consists of a constantly updated list of posts by a user's Facebook friends. Facebook users are more likely to look at news-feed ads than those in the more common ad location, the right side of a Facebook page, the social media giant says. Rick Case Honda expects to make heavy use of ads and video on Facebook news feeds next year to promote the redesigned 2013 Honda Accord sedan. Click here to read more about what Rick Case Honda and other dealerships are doing to leverage Facebook’s power. Join AIADA’s Facebook community at Facebook.com/AIADA.News.

Toyota Widens Global Sales Lead Over GM
Toyota has widened its global sales lead over General Motors after bouncing back from a series of natural disasters. The company said Friday it sold 7.4 million vehicles globally in the first nine months of this year – 450,000 more than General Motors. While Toyota's sales rose 28 percent in that period, GM's rose 2.5 percent, to 6.95 million cars and light-duty trucks. Toyota's factories were hobbled by an earthquake and tsunami in early 2011, leaving it short of cars in the U.S. and other regions. But now the company has recovered, and is building and selling more vehicles globally. Germany's Volkswagen AG is also seeing strong global sales. According to The Detroit News, Toyota faces a challenge in keeping its lead this year. Sales are falling in China because of a territorial dispute with Japan. Japan nationalized islands in the East China Sea that are also claimed by China and Taiwan. However, even if Toyota's China sales fall short of 1 million, Nomura Securities Co. auto analyst Masataka Kunugimoto expects them to gradually recover to 900,000 vehicles for the year. Click here for more on Toyota’s global sales success.

Romney Turns Auto Bailout Theme Against Obama
According to The Wall Street Journal, new television ad from Mitt Romney’s campaign shows how much the presidential election in Ohio is still turning on the battle to shape voter opinion of the Obama administration’s auto bailout. It has also revived a campaign debate over plans by Chrysler Corp.’s Jeep unit to build cars in China. The new ad, which aired over the weekend in Ohio, challenges President Barack Obama’s effort to take credit for saving U.S. auto jobs with his government-backed rescues of General Motors Co. and Chrysler. The ad aired as a new poll for Ohio newspapers suggested that the race for Ohio’s 18 electoral votes is a dead heat. The new Romney ad, which features nostalgic images of people enjoying rides in their cars and then autos getting crushed at a junkyard, states that President Obama “took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy, and sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China.” Watch it here. The ad draws on the fact that Chrysler and its Italian parent Fiat S.p.A, are in talks to build a Jeep assembly plant in China to serve growing demand for Jeep models there. Click here to read about how the auto industry continues to play a pivotal role in this year’s election.

5 Reasons Electric Vehicles Don't Get Buyers Charged Up
There's just a smattering of publicly available charging stations throughout the U.S., an issue, reports The Detroit Free Press, that is hindering the growth of electric vehicles (EVs). Though more come online every day, charging infrastructure is still lagging. There are 4,688 EV charging stations throughout the U.S., compared with about 129,000 gasoline stations, according to the Department of Energy and the Census Bureau. Reporting on five challenges the auto industry faces in encouraging the adoption of EVs, it indicates that dueling technology stands in the way. One must be dominant in order for EV technology to take hold. As previously mentioned, there are few public chargers. Additionally, charging takes hours. Using a standard 120-volt home outlet, the Chevy Volt takes all night to fully charge. Homeowners can install a 240-volt charging system, which cuts the charging time in half. But the industry is actively pursuing technological advancements that would dramatically reduce charging time. Experts say that for mass adoption of electric vehicles, charging time needs to be reduced to five to 10 minutes – the same amount of time it takes to fill up a tank of gasoline. Read about these and other issues that are hindering the adoption of EVs here.

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Aussies Turn Bumblebee Camaro Into Gullwing Door Limo [Autoblog]

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